NLM Citation Quick Guide


This NLM Quick Reference has been updated to reflect the 2007 changes.

For more detailed information on NLM citation style see Citing medicine: the NLM style guide for authors, editors, and publishers.

Click on the category to find out how to cite specific resources

Preparing the Reference List

  • References should be listed in numerical order at the end of the manuscript. Refer to other sections of this page for examples of how to cite different sources.
  • Dates are abbreviated using only the first three letters of the month (e.g. Mar, Sep).
  • Titles of journals should be abbreviated according to the style used in Index Medicus. The list of abbreviations for journals can be found here. Book titles are not abbreviated.
  • In NLM 2nd edition 2007, there is no style applied to citations. No italic, No bold, No underline at all.

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Periodical (Journal, Magazine, Newspaper)

General Format

  • Authors(Last name First Name Initial). Article title. Abbreviated Journal Title. Year Month Date; Volume Number(Issue Number):Inclusive Pages.
  • The words "volume" and "number" (or their abbreviations) are usually omitted when citing journal articles, but are included when citing books.
  • Note: Titles of journals should be abbreviated according to the style used in Index Medicus. The list of abbreviations can be found here.

Example:
Meneton P, Jeunemaitre X, de Wardener HE, MacGregor GA. Links between dietary salt intake, renal salt handling, blood pressure, and cardiovascular diseases. Physiol Rev. 2005 Apr;85(2):679-715.

 
Jun BC, Song SW, Park CS, Lee DH, Cho KJ, Cho JH. The analysis of maxillary sinus aeration according to aging process: volume assessment by 3-dimensional reconstruction by high-resolutional CT scanning. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2005 Mar;132(3):429-34.

No Author given

  • When there is no author, begin the citation with the title of the article. Do not use anonymous.
  • Title. Article title. Journal Title. Date of Publication. Vol. (issue): page numbers. Place of Publication.

Example:
Drug-resistance tuberculosis among the foreign-born in Canada. Can Commun Dis Rep. 2005 Feb 15;31(4):46-52. English, French.

Part of an article

  • Authors. Article Title: Journal Title. Date of Publication; Volume(Issue):Location. Name and Number of Part, Title of Part; p. Location of Part.

Example:
Butany J, Carmichael K, Leong SW, Collins MJ. Coronary artery stents: identification and evaluation. J Clin Pathol. 2005 Aug;58(8):795-804. Table 3, Common stent complications; p.796.

Online Journal

  • Author(s). Article Title. Abbreviated journal name [Type of Medium(e.g. Internet)]. Date of Publication [cited Date of Citation];Vol(issue number): Location. Available from: URL

Example:
Kaul S, Diamond GA. Good enough: a primer on the analysis and interpretation of non-inferiority trials. Ann Intern Med [Internet]. 2006 Jul 4 [cited 2007 Jan 4];145(1):62-9. Available from: http://www.annals.org/cgi/reprint/145/1/62.pdf

 
Happell B. The influence of education on the career preferences of undergraduate nursing students. Aust Electron J Nurs Educ [Internet]. 2002 Apr [cited 2007 Jan 8];8(1):[about 12 p.]. Available from: http://www.scu.edu.au/schools/nhcp/aejne/vol8-1/refereed/happell_max.html

Online Journal from a database

  • The general format for a reference to a database/retrieval system on the Internet, including punctuation:
    • For a single database:
      • Title [Type of Medium]. Place of Publication: Publisher; Date of Publication [modified Date of Update/Revision; Date of Citation]. Available from: URL.

      Example: Database of Human Disease Causing Gene Homologues in Dictyostelium Discoideum [Internet]. San Diego (CA): San Diego Supercomputer Center; 2003 [modified 2003 Mar 30; cited 2007 Feb 2]. Available from: http://dictyworldbench.sdsc.edu/HDGDD/.

Newspaper

  • Authors. Article Title. Newspaper Title (Edition). Date of Publication: Section: Location(Column Number).
  • Names of newspapers are NEVER abbreviated, although a leading "The" may be dropped if desired.
  • The location where a newspaper is published is added to the title if the newspaper title does not indicate it, either within or after the title, as appropriate.
  • Section information, if present, replaces volume and issue information.
  • Only the beginning page number of an article is included.

Example:
Gaul G. When geography influences treatment options. Washington Post (Maryland Ed.). 2005 Jul 24:Sect. A:12(col.1).

Conference Proceedings

  • Editors. Conference Title; Date of Conference; Place of Publication: Publisher; Date of Publication. Pagination.

Example:
Dostrovsky JO, Carr DB, Koltenburg M, editors. Proceedings of the 10th World Congress on Pain; 2002 Aug 17-22; San Diego, CA. Seattle: IASP Press; c2003.

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Books

General Format

  • Authors or Editors. Book title. Edition. Secondary Author (or translator). Place of Publication: Publisher; Date of Publication. Total number of pages.

Example:
Eyre HJ, Lange DP, Morris LB. Informed decisions: the complete book of cancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. 2nd ed. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; c2002. 768 p.

Book with no authors

  • Start with the Title of the Book
  • Book title. Edition. Secondary Author (or translator). Place of Publication: Publisher; Date of Publication. Total number of pages.

Example:
HIV/AIDs resources: a nationwide directory. 10th ed. Longmont (CO): Guides for Living; c2004. 792 p.

Parts of the Book

  • Volume of a Book
  • Author. Title of Book. Edition. Place of Publication: Publisher; Date. Name of Part Number of Part, Title of Part; Location of Part.

Example:
Speroff L, Fritz MA. Clinical gynecologic endocrinology and infertility. 7th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; c2005. Chapter 29, Endometriosis; p. 1103-33.

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Online Resources

Homepages

  • Author. Title [Type of Medium]. Place of Publication: Publisher; Date of Publication [Date of update/Revision; Date of Citation]. Available from: URL.

Example:
Hooper JF. Psychiatry & the Law: Forensic Psychiatric Resources Page [Internet]. Tuscaloosa (AL): University of Alabama, Department of Psychiatry and Neurology; 1999 Jan 1 [updated 2006 Jul 8; cited 2007 Feb 23]. Available from: http://bama.ua.edu/~jhooper/.

Parts of Web Sites (Webpages)

  • Title of Homepage [Type of Medium]. Place of Publication: Publisher; Date of Publication of Homepage [Dated of Citation of Part]; [Location(Pagination) of Part]. Available from: URL

Example:
AMA: helping doctors help patients [Internet]. Chicago: American Medical Association; c1995-2007. AMA launches exclusive partnership with the Reach MD Channel for medical professionals; 2007 Mar 26 [cited 2007 Mar 28]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/category/17469.html

Online Journal

  • Author(s). Article Title. Abbreviated journal name [Type of Medium(e.g. Internet)]. Date of Publication [cited Date of Citation]; Vol(issue number): Location. Available from: URL

Example:
Kaul S, Diamond GA. Good enough: a primer on the analysis and interpretation of non-inferiority trials. Ann Intern Med [Internet]. 2006 Jul 4 [cited 2007 Jan 4];145(1):62-9. Available from: http://www.annals.org/cgi/reprint/145/1/62.pdf

 
Happell B. The influence of education on the career preferences of undergraduate nursing students. Aust Electron J Nurs Educ [Internet]. 2002 Apr [cited 2007 Jan 8];8(1):[about 12 p.]. Available from: http://www.scu.edu.au/schools/nhcp/aejne/vol8-1/refereed/happell_max.html

E-mail

  • Author(Last name, Full first name). Title of Message [Type of Medium]. Connective Phrase: Recipient (First name Last name). 2007 Mar 27 [Date of Citation]. [Extent].
  • The author must provide written permission to the publisher from the cited person (if living) or from the cited organization if the message is not accessible to scholars via the e-mail server's archive. The permission should be a statement in an "Acknowledgments" or a "Notes" section following the text of and article or placed at the end of a book's main text.
  • Note: Many publishers will not accept email communications in the reference list. It is recommended that emails are referenced in text as they are personal communications. Should you decide to include an entry it should be formatted in the manner described above.

    Example:
    Backus, Joyce. Physician Internet search behavior: detailed study [Internet]. Message to: Karen Patrias. 2007 Mar 27 [cited 2007 Mar 28]. [2 paragraphs].

Wikis

  • Title [Type of Medium]. Place of Publication: Publisher . Beginning Date - [Date of Citation]. Available from: URL
  • Always begin with the title. If the word wiki is not included, using the content type "wiki" is strongly recommended.
  • Be aware, many wikis are not moderated. Since anyone can post text to most wikis, the validity of the content may be questionable.

Example:
The RHIO Wiki [Internet]. Washington: Center for health Transformation. 2006 Aug 21 - [cited 2007 May 5]. Available from: http://www.socialtext.net/rhiowiki/index.cgi

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    In-Text References

    • eWithin the text of a publication, individual references are presented in an abbreviated format that refers back to the list. These abbreviated references within the text are called "in-text references."
    • In the citation-sequence system, numbers are used to refer to the reference list. References are numbered in the list in the order they first appear in the text. For example, if a reference by Zelinski is the first one referred to in the text, then the Zelinski reference is number one in the list.
      Note: There are three ways in which in text citations can be formatted for this quick guide we have only included the above, for each of the other varieties there are implications in relations to creating a reference list. For a description of how to cite using either of the other formats Click Here

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    Most of the above information has been excerpted from:

    Patrias K. Citing medicine: the NLM style guide for authors, editors, and publishers [Internet]. 2nd ed. Wendling, Daniel L., technical editor. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2007 [cited 2007 Oct 29]. Available from: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/citingmedicine